Hibs 3, Dundee Utd 0. Championship. Friday, January 6, 2017
Two goals by Jason Cummings helped Hibs open up a four-point lead in the Championship with victory over closest rivals Dundee United.
The striker clipped home a loose ball after six minutes and turned in his 12th of the season after superb play from debutant winger Chris Humphrey.
Tope Obadeyi’s header belatedly forced Hibs keeper Ross Laidlaw into a save.
But substitute John McGinn killed off a lacklustre United with a superb solo effort on his return from injury.
Even before Cummings opened the scoring, Hibs stretched United and caused them problems.
Humphrey, the new signing making a telling debut, on the right, and Martin Boyle on the left had the beating of their men and it stayed that way all night. Between them they had the rock Marvin Bartley. His dominance rarely dipped either.
That first goal came after a poor Willo Flood header out of defence and a shot by Humphrey that fell kindly for Cummings. The striker stayed cool and beat Cammy Bell with ease. It was his 11th of the season. His 12th would come soon enough.
That same Humphrey-Cummings combination conjured up the second before the half-hour. Humphrey caused Paul Dixon terrible trouble and here, again, he left his marker behind, taking a gorgeous first touch on a cross-field pass that took him away from Dixon and down the right wing.
The delivery to Cummings, running free to the near post, was also precise. Cummings, sharp and hungry, knocked it past Bell for a two-goal lead that Hibs never, for one second, looked like relinquishing.
Ray McKinnon’s team have been excellent for much of the season, only conceding three goals in their past ten games. This was a different United.
They were jumpy from the start, inaccurate when they had the ball, and totally lacking in any goal threat until substitute Tope Obadeyi gave Hibs something to think about.
Obadeyi got on the end of a Lewis Toshney cross and forced a diving save from Ross Laidlaw. It was just about the first sign of creative life from the visitors. It took 77 minutes for it to happen. And it did not happen again.
The favourite son, McGinn, made a terrific return from injury a dozen minutes before the end.
Out since mid-November, it took him a few minutes to make a strong tackle in defence and only a few minutes more to score the third. All of this was greeted joyously by the home support in a crowd of almost 19,000.
McGinn took himself past Scott Fraser into the left-side of United’s penalty area, measured his options and slammed his shot through Bell’s legs and into the far corner. Having their best player fit and well again, and adding more flourishes later on, put the cherry on top on what was a picture-perfect night for Neil Lennon’s team.
Hibs: Laidlaw; Gray, McGregor, Hanlon, Stevenson, Bartley, McGeouch, Humphrey (Keatings 84), Commons (McGinn 78), Boyle, Cummings (Graham 88). Subs not used: Fontaine, Holt, Shinnie, Virtanen.
Dundee Utd: Bell; Toshney, Durnan, Edjenguele, Dixon, Murdoch (Mikkelsen 75), Flood, Telfer (Smith 67), Fraser, Andreu, Van der Velden (Obadeyi 57). Subs not used: Dillon, Spittal, Zwick, Robson.
Referee: W Collum.